PASADENA, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente awarded a two-year, $408,000 grant to the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks Aquatics Division through its long-running Operation Splash program, which teaches children and adults in low-income areas to swim.
At a press conference at 109th Street pool in Watts, representatives from Kaiser Permanente, as well as elected and community leaders, announced that this year’s Operation Splash program will focus on young women’s athletics and water polo, a sport that has traditionally been played by men.
“We are thrilled to kick off Operation Splash in South Los Angeles to help many more generations of children and their families learn to swim and to fuel young women’s interest in water sports,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “By teaching children and their families to swim, Kaiser Permanente is encouraging an active lifestyle and fulfilling its commitment to make total health accessible to everyone.”
“We are the ones who have to inspire and motivate them,” said 23-year old Betsy Camano of Watts, who learned to swim at 109th Street pool alongside her five sisters and brother. She remembers being timid at first about playing water polo with the boys. But once she got hooked on water polo, that changed. She went on to play for her college team and became an assistant water polo coach. “Girls sometimes have a hard time imagining themselves in sports careers, but we’re changing that with programs like Operation Splash. The more you see women doing these things, the more you want to do those things, because you know you can succeed.”
Now in its 12th year, Kaiser Permanente’s Operation Splash grant will underwrite swim lessons over two years for 12,000 children, teenagers and adults; provide junior lifeguard scholarships for 1,560 youth; and increase participation in the Rethink Your Drink Campaign, which raises awareness about the unhealthy impacts of sugary beverages and the benefits of drinking water.
Swim lessons will take place at 36 pools in Los Angeles. Junior lifeguard lessons will be offered at 48 sites.
“The Department of Recreation and Parks is committed to providing accessible programs and opportunities for young girls to learn about sports and participate,” said Michael Shull, general manager, Department of Recreation and Parks. “For years, Operation Splash and the LA84 Foundation have been providing grant funding and scholarships for swim lessons and junior lifeguard training for thousands of youth and families that we service throughout Los Angeles. We are excited to kick off this program in South Los Angeles and raise awareness about swimming and water sports in this community.”
“Learning to swim can save your life,” said Renata Simril, president and chief executive officer, LA84 Foundation. “Learning to swim can also improve the quality of your life – your health, your fitness and your mood. LA84 strongly supports aquatic programs and venues.”
Kaiser Permanente’s Operation Splash is funded by Kaiser Permanente through a Community Benefit commitment that has grown to nearly $7 million in Southern California.
Operation Splash is part of Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating, Active Living (known as HEAL) efforts to reduce obesity in the community by increasing opportunities for safe physical activity and access to healthy and affordable foods. Based on the program’s initial success in Los Angeles, Operation Splash expanded to six other southern California cities in 2009, bringing its total pledge in 2017 to $856,143.
Additional Operation Splash grants for summers 2017 and 2018 include:
- City of San Bernardino, Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, San Bernardino: $79,500
- City of Riverside, Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, Riverside: $84,150
- Desert Recreation District, Coachella Valley Recreation and Park District, Indio: $84,150
- North of the River Recreation and Park District, Bakersfield: $53,550
- City of Ventura, Community Services Department, Ventura: $53,293
- Friends of Chula Vista Parks and Recreation, Chula Vista: $93,500
Please visit the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks’ website at www.laparks.org, or call 323-906-7953 for information about participating pools in the area.
About the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Aquatics Division
The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Department, Aquatics Division offers families and community members many healthy, affordable and safe aquatic activities at their public pools, lakes, and beaches. Recreation and Parks oversees 61 swimming pools, 11 lakes, and two beaches. For more information please visit www.laparks.org.
About the LA84 Foundation
The LA84 Foundation was established to manage Southern California’s share of the surplus from the successful 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The Foundation received $93 million at its inception. Since it began operations in 1985, it has invested $214 million in sports programs serving more than 3 million youth in the eight Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura. It is headquartered in the historic Britt House near Downtown Los Angeles where it houses the world’s premier sports library and meeting facilities. The Foundation provides grants to youth sports organizations, manages programs, including a coaching education program, and convenes numerous forums for the exploration of the most pressing issues in sport. For more information, please visit www.LA84.org.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 11.8 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.